Recap: Top Chef D.C., Episode 2

Posted by Angela on June 27th, 2010

Source: Bravo

After the premiere of Top Chef D.C. last week, it’s pretty clear who the frontrunners are this season. In one corner, we’ve got Kenny Gilbert, who immediately proves himself to be the fastest peeler, dicer, and chicken break-downer in the first quickfire. Still, he loses the final cooking stage of the challenge to Angelo Sosa, who also goes on to later take the elimination challenge with Kenny next to him in the top two.

White House assistant chef Sam Kass shows up as the guest judge for the quickfire, which means no Eric Ripert in this episode. Not that I’m complaining too much; he’s a cutie. The chefs partner up to make a sandwich by drawing knives. Padma announces that they’ll have thirty minutes to make a great sandwich, but of course, there’s a twist. The pairs will have to cook wearing aprons attached at the seams.

Source: Bravo

It takes a lot of trust and I’m immediately amused by Alex’s reluctance to hold anything while his partner cuts it. It also results in a lot of sloppy sandwiches, and two fabulous ones from Angelo and Tracy, and Kenny and Ed. Who else? Angelo and Tracy end up winning it, giving Angelo a three-challenge winning streak and both of them immunity.

For the elimination challenge, the pairs are required to join up with another pair to form a group of four. The teams will be cooking school lunches for a middle school, inspired by Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch initiative. The catch is that they’ll be limited to a budget of just $2.60 per child. Angelo and Tracy choose to work with Kenny and Ed, which Kenny calls “major strategy” because he and Ed will have a 50% chance of going home as opposed to 25% if their team loses. It seems like they’ll be the team to beat though.

Team challenges are always fun to watch though, and of course drama ensues. Amanda and her teammates (Tamesha, Jacqueline, and Steven) disagree on whether or not to make gnocchi, and she hands off the dessert to someone else, saying, “People who make desserts go home… Take one for the team is not in my vocabulary.” Same goes for Kelly, who keeps using “I” rather than “we” to the annoyance of her teammates Lynne, Tiffany, and Arnold in particular. She’s bossy too, and wants to use feta cheese and pickled onions, ingredients which Arnold and Tiffany don’t think will appeal to children. Of the groups, Alex, Tim, Kevin, and Andrea seem the most together.

Later at Restaurant Depot, Amanda decides she’ll braise the chicken thigh in sherry cooking wine… even though she’s cooking for children. I’m utterly shocked that no one else on her team protests at the time. Meanwhile, all the other teams scramble to meet the $130 limit.

While prepping, Kenny admits that he isn’t happy with his team’s menu because it doesn’t “seem as nutritious as it should be.” He doesn’t stop the rest of his team to rework the menu though, which could be problematic later. Tamesha finally realizes that Amanda’s using sherry and proclaims that she’ll kick her ass if she gets in the bottom four because of it. Jacqueline is having problems due to limited ingredients and ends up adding two pounds of sugar to her strawberry banana pudding to sweeten it up… Two whole pounds? Really? Not at all a wise choice.

Back at the house, Tracy says she and her family eat fast food at least once a week. And she’s a chef? What kind of mother is this woman? Arnold and the rest of the team confronts Kelly about taking too much credit individually.

The kids seem to most like Kevin, Andrea, Tim, and Alex’s meal, as well as Kelly, Arnold, Lynne, and Tiffany’s. The judges pan Kenny, Ed, Angelo, and Tracy’s meal for being unhealthy, Amanda’s chicken for the use of the sherry, and Jacqueline’s pudding for being too sweet. Padma chats with the kids and gives them hugs before they leave to go back to the kitchen.

Amanda, Tamesha, Steven, and Jacqueline and Kenny, Ed, Angelo, and Tracy get called in first, prompting the other teams to think they’re the winners. The judges throw us a curveball though, and they turn out to be the bottom two teams. Kenny, Ed, Angelo, and Tracy are criticized for including no vegetables aside from a piece of celery, and the judges reprimand Amanda and Jacqueline for the use of sherry in the chicken and the too sweet pudding, respectively. Tom suggests that Angelo might have wanted to sabotage Kenny and Ed’s chances since he has immunity, which he denies. It quickly becomes an argument, with Steven taking a shot at Kenny for not pointing out the lack of vegetables in the dish, Kenny then taking a shot at Jacqueline for the two pounds of sugar in her pudding, Amanda retorting that processed peanut butter is loaded with sugar and calories, and Ed again bringing up the use of sherry wine in Amanda’s braised chicken.

The winning teams come in, and Kelly ends up winning the challenge and knocking Angelo off his winning streak. The judges bring back Kenny, Ed, Amanda, and Jacqueline, and ultimately send home Jacqueline for her unhealthy strawberry banana pudding.

Next week, the cheftestants are charged with making a picnic meal and Amanda takes some criticism during a smoking break outside of the house.

Give us your take! Who are your favorites and least favorites so far this season? Were the judges right in sending home Jacqueline for her pudding mishap or should someone else have taken the fall?

Category: Top Chef, TV recaps